Although we generally associate technological advancements with the companies that successfully commercialize them, there are often underappreciated bodies toiling away behind the curtain. In many cases over the last 40 years, Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (today PARC) has been that hidden player, inventing many of today's ubiquitous technologies or refining them from abstract concepts.

Launched as a development arm of Xerox Corporation in 1970, PARC has played an instrumental role in the engineering of laser printing and many of the technologies that compose the personal computer -- most famously the graphical user interface (GUI) used in the Xerox 8010 Star Information System in 1981, followed by the Apple Lisa. The team included many of the world's top computer scientists, not least of which were former employees of the Stanford Research Institute.

Despite its vast industry contributions, the group has been criticized for failing to capitalize on its many innovations. While some of our older readers might be familiar with the prolific Palo Alto Research Center, we think its accomplishments have largely escaped the younger tech crowd. We'd like to take a few and give credit where credit's due.

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